Nick Clegg’s speech on demonising and punishing the poor and sick (in which he displayed a heroic willingness to take one for the coalition team by declaring “the Liberal Democrats are now the party of welfare reform”) brought the issue of the “something for nothing” culture back to the forefront today.
Scots, of course, are already familiar with the leader of the Holyrood opposition standing up and angrily telling the chamber how unsustainable and morally wrong it is that well-off people such as herself are entitled to universal benefits at state expense.
Yet numerous reports emphasise that universality is a solution that’s practical as well as desirable, because it’s economically efficient as well as solving the problem of people suffering because they’re unable or unwilling to claim benefits they need and ultimately costing the state far more money in remedial care.
It’s a tricky old pickle and no mistake. So entirely free of charge, we’ve had a wee think and come up with a policy that squares the circle, so that Johann Lamont can offer to solve the problem without condemning hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Scots (and Labour MSPs) to lives of unending misery.